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and conflict in the united states. robertot kennedy assassinated. and lbga's presidency and alienating millions of americans against a turbulent backdrop nasa resumed its flights and aimed to test in space the craft it hoped to learn before year's end. a sudden change of plans turned apolo 8 into another make or break mission. >> apolo 8 wasn't going to be a lunar flight. it was going to be an orbital flight to test to see if everything was correct between two vehicles before we would ever commit them to go to the moon. >> apolo 8 was a big step forward. even if successful america would be trailing the russians in the race to the moon. >> the soviets sent a spacecraft around the moon with animals to see if they could send cause ma notes and try to beat us not for a landing, but at least beat us to g around the moon. they were fairly successful. in the soviet hierarchy they had a big controversy. should we send the cos cosmonauts, and others said no we should send one more time to make sure. >> the cia was getting signals that maybe the soviets were going to try a sir come -- a circum lunar flig
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